V. C. Elves

  1. Did Elves have pointed ears?

    [Question III.B.4 of the Tolkien Newsgroups FAQ contains additional discussion of this issue.]

    [Webmaster's note: at the end of the first "Etymologies" entry below, Christopher Tolkien actually wrote "[?human]", and said earlier that "a question mark standing within such brackets indicates doubt as to the correctness of my reading." However, many of those who have examined the original manuscripts believe his intent was clear. Also, contrary to the statement below, the Etymologies continued to be updated at least occasionally during the writing of LotR.]

    They were evidently somewhat pointed; more so that human ears, at any rate. The only place this matter is addressed directly is in The Etymologies, published in The Lost Road. There, the following two entries for the element 'las' are given [Q == Quenya, N == Noldorin]:

    Las (1) *lasse 'leaf': Q lasse, N lhass; Q lasselanta 'leaf-fall, autumn', N lhasbelin (*lassekwelene), cf. Q Narquelion [ KWEL ]. Lhasgalen 'Greenleaf' (Gnome name of Laurelin). (Some think this is related to the next and *lasse 'ear'. The Quendian ears were more pointed and leaf-shaped than [human].)

    Las (2) 'listen'. N lhaw 'ears' (of one person), old dual *lasu -- whence singular lhewig. Q lar, lasta- 'listen'; lasta 'listening, hearing' -- Lastalaika 'sharp-ears', a name, cf. N Lhathleg. N lhathron 'hearer, listener, eavesdropper' (< *la(n)sro-ndo ) ; lhathro or lhathrando 'listen in, eavesdrop'.
    (The Lost Road, 367)

    Some have rejected the conclusion on the grounds that these entries were written before LotR was begun and therefore may not apply to it. It is thus significant that the element 'las' retained both its meanings, as is shown by examples in LotR itself, such as Legolas ('Green leaf') (TT, 106, 154), 'lassi' (== "leaves") in Galadriel's Lament (FR, 394), and Amon Lhaw (Hill of Hearing) (FR, 410).

     FR, 394, (II, 8), 410 (II,9);
     TT, 106 (III,5), 154 (III,8);
     Letters, 282 (#211);
     The Lost Road (HoMe V), 367 ("The Etymologies")

    Contributor: WDBL

V. D. Dwarves

  1. Did Dwarf women have beards?

    [Question III.B.9 of the Tolkien Newsgroups FAQ contains an updated discussion of this issue.]

    It seems they did. In the note on Dwarf women in Appendix A it was told:

    It was said by Gimli that there are few dwarf-women, probably no more than a third of the whole people. They seldom walk abroad except at great need. They are in voice and appearance, and in garb if they must go on a journey, so like to the dwarf-men that the eyes and ears of other peoples cannot tell them apart.
    RK, 360 (App A)

    Since beards were part of the appearance, not the garb, of dwarf-men, we must conclude that dwarf-women did in fact have beards.

    The question has been raised as to whether all dwarf men necessarily had beards (the above conclusion depends upon this premise). Insofar as the matter was mentioned at all, it was shown through either direct statements or casual references that at least Thorin, Dwalin, Balin, Fili, Kili, Gloin, Bombur, and Gimli all definitely had beards (Hobbit, 20-22, 159, 186, 198; FR, 240; RK, 148); it is natural to assume that the others did as well. While no definite statement about the beard status of dwarf-men in general was ever presented as a matter of lore, a thought which reflects the assumed view was given to Bilbo early in The Hobbit: [as Bilbo rode along wearing Dwalin's hood] "His only comfort was that he couldn't be mistaken for a dwarf, as he had no beard." (Hobbit, 42) In any event, the notion of bearded dwarves seems an assumption with fairly firm foundations.

     Hobbit, 20-22 (Ch I), 42 (Ch II),
             159 (Ch VIII), 186 (Ch X), 198 (Ch XI);
     FR, 240 (II, 1);
     RK, 148 (V, 9), 153 (V, 9),
         360 (Appendix A, III).

    Contributors: WDBL, Peter Hunt

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